Today’s smart security cams offer an excellent combination of features like motion sensors, two-way radios, mobile alerts, and high-quality video capture (we have a list of them here). The problem for many is that dropping $100 to $200 on a single security camera isn’t exactly a comfortable idea.
For those looking for a quality budget camera, there are plenty of lesser-known security cams for well below $50 that can still do a great job, as long as you know what brands can really deliver on their promises. Here’s a list of cams to check out if you’d like to save. And, if you’re interested in outdoor cams, you won’t want to skip our guide here.
Wyze Cam Pan
Wyze is a well-known smart home brand with a specialty in affordable security cams that work well and provide the latest features. This model is an excellent example — a 1080p cam that can pan (a full 360 degrees, making it ideal for the center of the room), tilt, and zoom on command so you can get a closer look at anything you want. Plus, the Wyze app is well crafted and easy to learn if this is your first security cam.
The app also enables push notifications if its motion sensors detect anything, and can automatically record 12 seconds of video if it notices anything. It saves that clip to the cloud for two weeks without cost — something many brands would charge a fee for (you can also use SD cards). Night vision means dark or low lighting isn’t an issue, and two-way communication lets you talk to strangers, pets, babysitters, and anyone else. On top of all of this, it has compatibility with Google Assistant and Alexa, and can connect to their smart screens if available.
That’s a seriously impressive package for such an affordable cam, and it’s an added privacy bonus that Wyze has a great track record in the country with managing data. However, we will point out that this is an indoor-only cam: Outside use is a bad idea.
Wyze 1080p Cam
Wyze is such a good brand for these cheaper cams that we’re moving right along to a second option from the company. This extra-affordable 1080p cam can’t really pan or tilt like our first pick, so it’s important to set up carefully with a view of exactly what you want to watch over. However, most of the other praised smart features are still here, including motion and sound sensors, 12-second automatic recordings saved in the cloud for 14 days, and push notifications for your phone.
The cam also includes night vision capabilities and voice assistant compatibility for expanded use. The two-way audio allows for instant communication. If you want onboard storage for a more permanent collection of clips, microSD cards are supported. The cam is affordable enough that you can probably consider a two-pack to cover more ground and still stay within your budget. You can easily mount it on the wall for more placement options.
Wansview Home Security Camera
This compact, 1080p home security cam is built for easy in-home use in a variety of areas. The bulbous design supports a 105-degree lens that can pan, tilt, and zoom as needed, plus infrared LEDs for night vision at up to five meters. Motion detectors can initiate mobile alerts and automatic 10-second videos that can be loaded on an SD card or the cloud. There’s also two-way audio communication and support for Alexa voice commands.
These features add up to a cam that’s particularly good at scanning smaller rooms like a baby’s room, and it also works well posted up near a door. While the app can’t really compare with designs from brands like Wyze, it is serviceable and offers a full range of options.
The Blink Mini is even smaller than you might think at 2 x 1.9 inches but still offers a 110-degree lens with 1080p video and infrared HD night vision. That makes it really easy to set up on little shelves around your home without worrying about having enough room or being especially conspicuous. Like far more expensive cams, the Mini also lets you set customized motion detection zones to help decrease errors, and it also offers two-way communication despite its tiny size. The Alexa voice assistant is supported as well.
The Mini does offer a free trial for saving video clips to the cloud, after which it costs $3 per camera. However, you can back up video clips with a flash drive or a Blink hub if you want to expand capabilities. Live video feeds are free.
YI Dome Camera
As seen with the Wansview, the dome shape of this 1080p cam makes it simple to rotate almost 360 degrees, plus adjust with a tilt feature that really gives an excellent full view of a room and includes night vision tech. The two-way audio is worth noting in particular on this cam, since it includes anti-noise filters for easier conversations. There’s also a neat auto-cruise mode that will keep the camera panning around, stopping at specific “bookmarks” you create to take a closer look. Motion detectors can send alerts and snap six-second video footage and are designed to avoid accidentally tracking pets.
However, there’s not really any cloud storage after the first day unless you pay for at least a $3.33 per month plan. Bump it to $12.50 per month and you get emergency service response, which is a bonus some users may be interested in.
Conico Baby Monitor
While marketed as a baby/toddler monitor, this security cam can serve any room in the house, and it includes almost all of the features you’d find in any other cam on our list, but at the lowest price we’ve found if you really want to save. The cam has 360-degree panning capabilities, 1080p video quality, night vision up to 33 feet, and two-way audio for checking things out more thoroughly.
There are also welcome features like real-time alerts for noise and movement and Alexa compatibility. Limited cloud service is supported, but the cam also has SD card compatibility for onboard storage.
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